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View Full Version : SC 7.0 wireless is less tolerant of noise



jimj
2008-04-24, 21:49
Short version:
My SB3 was much more tolerant of wireless noise when I ran Slimserver 6.5.3. Can this wireless network reliability be restored to the new SC 7.x series?


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Long version:

My SB3 connects to a Dlink 4300 router/802.11g access point. My wireless network is lightly used, just one other laptop that's used as a remote desktop client. My wireless network (on channel 1) is free from interference (I've verified this with Airmagnet's Laptop Analyzer and Spectrum Analyzer) except for one thing I'll address later.

I was running Slimserver 6.5.3 without any wireless problems. After upgrading to SqueezeCenter 7.0 my Squeezebox 3 frequently drops of the network, usually for about 30 seconds. Nothing has changed in my wireless environment except for the upgrade to SC 7.0 (firmware 86). I've also tried several recent beta 7.0.1 versions of SC (firmware 88), but this didn't change my symptoms at all.

The one thing I have that does cause interference is a 2.4 GHz cordless phone. With my spectrum analyzer I can see this phone bounce all over the 2.4 GHz spectrum, so there's no safe channel to run to. With this phone unplugged my SB's wireless problems go away.

So finally getting to the point, yes I know trashing my 2.4 GHz phone is the best fix, please don't tell me I just need to throw my phone away. My point is that the old SB3 firmware was more tolerant of wireless noise then the current firmwares (86 and 88).

Is there anyway that the wireless network resiliency from the old Slimserver 6.5.3 days (I don't know what firmware that was) can be restored? Or maybe an advanced wireless option to turn on something like "Super Old Fashioned Wireless Network Robustness" that would trade some wireless speed for wireless reliability.

TIA,
Jim

SuperQ
2008-04-25, 07:44
Have you downgraded to 6.5.3 to verify the problem goes away? The only change to wireless code was a bug fix for WPA group key renewal. If you're running WPA, it could be a bug in your router that wasn't being hit with the older firmware.

Millwood
2008-04-25, 08:29
With no knowledge of details.

There are two levels of potential problem:

1. The wireless, which has not changed.
2. The protocol recovery from lost packets. Has that changed. I must say that I had some drop out problems with 7.x that I don't remember with 6, but I had just added a duet and don't know how that is related. The drop outs were on an SB3 that is usually rock solid.

jimj
2008-04-27, 07:49
No, I hadn't downgraded back to 6.5.3. Since the time that my problems started coincided so nicely with the upgrade to SC7 I just assumed that upgrade had to be the related to my problems. Of course we all know what assuming does.

I thought that unplugging my 2.4Ghz phone had resolved the issue, but I then started having drop outs even with my phone unplugged. I then downgraded to 6.5.3 and 6.5.4, but they both continued to have the same problem.

At this point I started grabbing at straws and changed my Dlink to 802.11b only mode and that fixed my SB problem. I have now upgraded back up to SqueezeCenter-7.0.1-19177 and I even have my wireless unfriendly phone plugged back in. I.e. I'm back to my original setup, except that I'm running 802.11b instead of 802.11g and I haven't missed a single ping to my SB in over 40 hours!

From my Squeezebox's streaming test I get 100% all the way up to 4Mb. At 5 Mb I get 93%. By my math 4Mb should be fast enough to handle anything I throw at the SB, so I'm happy with my workaround.

I still don't understand why I started having wireless problems in the first place and why does changing to 802.11b fix it? Is my Dlink 4300 simply going bad, or is there something inherently more robust about 802.11b versus 802.11g?

ncarver
2008-04-27, 12:14
Is my Dlink 4300 simply going bad, or is there something inherently more robust about 802.11b versus 802.11g?

We started having trouble with our Dlink-based wireless network at one point, and after lots of frustration and swapping boxes around (was using 3 Dlink 2100/2200 access points both as access point and as 2 clients), traced it to a problem with the power supply ("wall wart") with the access point unit. It was apparently working well enough to have it appear to be powered up, but not well enough to function reliably. Was able to get a replacement power supply from a friend, and that fixed it. Not sure the Dlink power supplies are really adequate. Something to consider if it gets flaky!

JimC
2008-04-27, 12:15
I still don't understand why I started having wireless problems in the first place and why does changing to 802.11b fix it? Is my Dlink 4300 simply going bad, or is there something inherently more robust about 802.11b versus 802.11g?

Two ideas:

Could a neighbor have added a 2.4GHz device (phone, wireless router/AP, etc)? 802.11b occupies fewer channels than 802.11g, so switching may have moved your channel uses far enough from the offending device's use of the spectrum to eliminate the interference.

As SuperQ pointed out, there were changes to WPA encryption. Were you using WPA? Switching to B would've forced a change to WEP, bypassing another possible cause for your problem.


-=> Jim

jimj
2008-04-27, 20:04
Thanks ncarver, I never thought about swapping out the power adapter. I'll have to see if I can find a friend with one to borrow.

JimC, yes I eliminated other 2.4HHz devices as the source of the problem with Airmagnet's Laptop Analyzer and Spectrum Analyzer. My channel one is clean (asides from my own 2.4GHz phone). You must be thinking of 802.11a which adds 5GHz channels. 802.11g uses the exact same frequency/channels as 802.11b, so that's not it.

I did fail to point out that I use WEP encryption, so changing to 802.11b wouldn't change that either.